From an inauspicious beginning at the tiny Left Bank Théâtre de Babylone in 1953, followed by bewilderment among American and British audiences, Waiting for Godot has become one of the most important and enigmatic plays of the past fifty years and a cornerstone of twentieth-century drama. As Clive Barnes wrote, “Time catches up with genius. . . . Waiting for Godot is one of the masterpieces of the century.” Beckett wrote the play in French and then translated it into English himself. In doing so he chose to revise and eliminate various passages. With side-by-side text, the reader can experience the mastery of Beckett’s language and explore its nuances. Upon being asked who Godot is, Samuel Beckett told director Alan Schneider, “If I knew, I would have said so in the play.” Although we may never know who we are waiting for, in this special edition we can rediscover one of the most poignant and humorous allegories of our time.
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About the Author
Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), one of the leading literary and dramatic figures of the twentieth century, was born in Foxrock, Ireland and attended Trinity University in Dublin. In 1928, he visited Paris for the first time and fell in with a number of avant-garde writers and artists, including James Joyce. In 1937, he settled in Paris permanently. Beckett wrote in both English and French, though his best-known works are mostly in the latter language. A prolific writer of novels, short stories, and poetry, he is remembered principally for his works for the theater, which belong to the tradition of the Theater of the Absurd and are characterized by their minimalist approach, stripping drama to its barest elements. In 1969, Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and commended for having 'transformed the destitution of man into his exaltation.' Beckett died in Paris in 1989.
What People are Saying About This
"it is the quintessence of 'extentialism.'..."
“One of the true masterpieces of the century.” Clive Barnes, The New York Times
“One of the most noble and moving plays of our generation, a threnody of hope deceived and deferred but never extinguished; a play suffused with tenderness for the whole human perplexity; with phrases that come like a sharp stab of beauty and pain.”
The Times (London)
“Beckett is an incomparable spellbinder. He writes with rhetoric and music that . . . make a poet green with envy.” Stephen Spender
“Reading Beckett for the first time is an experience like no other in modern literature.”
“[Godot is ] among the most studied, monographed, celebrated and sent-up works of modern art, and perhaps as influential as any from the last century. The nonstory of two tramps at loose ends in a landscape barren of all but a single tree, amusing or distracting themselves from oppressive boredom while they wait for a mysterious figure who never arrives, the play became the ur-text for theatrical innovation and existential thought in the latter half of 20th century.” Christopher Isherwood, The New York Times
"It is possible that consciously or unconsciously Beckett is restating the moral and sexual basis of Christianity which was lost with Christ..."
"Waiting for Godot.. is a modern moraliyt play, on permanent themes."